How to Write Customer Personas

Customer Personas are funny things. Like lots of professional documentation, and immediately filed under Forgotten. If imprecise or dated, they can restrict and mislead your people, everyone from PR, marketing, website developers, copywriters.

What is a Customer Persona?

Think of a customer persona like an avatar of your regular (or ideal) customer, plus or minus the blue paint! This avatar represents them and reveals their environment, resources, style and priorities.

For example, just one of our customer personas is: male, over 50; more senior than middle management and a decision-maker, though not an expert in the area they hire us in to help with; in possession of influence over others, but confident enough to listen to their team; someone who moves around because they own transferable skills at this stage in their career; and, it amuses us how many of them cycle crazy distances on the weekend (something that in our experience is closely tied to understated intelligence)! It’s not our only customer persona, but it’s the one that made us giggle the most when writing it down, because it’s just so reassuringly consistent. (And when the person approaching us with similar work in a very niche field varies from this persona too far, and we ignore our gut instinct, the experience is invariably disappointing.)

OK, let’s keep it really simple. Go somewhere quiet (the conference call pod will do), close your eyes and imagine one of your regular customers walking into your store or calling you to enquire about your services.

Ask Yourself Questions About Your Typical Customer

Unless you have niche product, you will have more than one typical customer.

The Lead and Their Priorities

  • How did they find out about your organisation?
  • Why did they contact you initially?
  • Why do they continue to buy from you and not someone else?

The Person

  • What do they look like and sound like?
  • Are they make or female?
  • What age are they?
  • Do they like surfing, for example (details like this can be revealing)?
  • What are they wearing?
  • Are the confident or halting?

Professional Experience and Style

  • Are they experienced in their industry or not?
  • Do they manage from a distance, or get their hands dirty?
  • Are they risk takers or risk averse?

Their Feelings

  • What are they stressed about?
  • What makes them smile and relax?

Their Questions and Concerns

  • What do They Need to Know? What questions and concerns do they have?
  • What are the key things for them? Price, value, support, management, expertise, detail, speed or something else?
  • What are they not interested in?

Are They the Decision Maker?

  • Can they make quick decisions bout what and when to purchase?
  • How much do they typically spend? How often? Is this a particular time of the year?

And, finally:

  • Open your eyes and write it all down. No, I’m not kidding. This is your first customer persona.
  • Repeat the exercise for each of your regular customer types. Complete one or two for ideal customer types instead, if you are a startup.

Why Do I Need Customer Personas?

If you know who your customers are, or should be, among other things, you’ll be able to:

  • Decide whether or not your product is something your target customers want or need, and will pay for
  • Write a content marketing strategy that addresses the individual concerns of each persona
  • Implement a digital marketing schedule that includes things they’d be interested in reading and engaging with or sharing
  • Decide which networking events to attend in person and where to network online
  • Figure out which forums and social media platforms you need to use to develop a presence
  • Write website content and blog posts that address all your customers’ biggest concerns
  • Avoid wasting everyone’s time on stuff the customer doesn’t care about

How did you find that? Have we left out something you’d add in? And, what are you going to do, now that you’ve learned how to write customer personas? Tell us in a comment.

If you need help writing customer personas, contact us on 0845 527 0474 or